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PCB Problems You Need to Know

PCB problems

It’s nothing short of amazing that so many items in our everyday lives are now run by printed circuit boards. Here are a few common items you may use that frequently depend on PCBs:

  • Consumer electronics (cell phones, TVs, speakers, alarms)
  • Automotive components (navigation systems, sound systems)
  • Medical devices (x-rays, surgical devices)
  • LEDs
  • Industrial equipment (cutters, engines)

That’s just the tip of the iceberg! So, you can imagine what an issue it is when a PCB fails. Though infrequent, there are several reasons for PCB problems and how you can spot them.

Poor soldering

A bad soldering job can cause many issues in a printed circuit board. It can happen when a technician doesn’t properly heat the solder or when moisture contaminates the solder. Either example of a bad soldering job will cause issues like connection problems or components burning.

Aging components

Even PCBs have something of a shelf life! As the components get older, they begin to lose their quality and break down. Though usually out of your control, it is possible to replace outdated parts without replacing the whole board.

Missing solder mask

The solder mask protects the copper from the environmental elements, corrosion, and insulates the copper traces. When there is a missing solder mask, it exposes the copper and can form a solder bridge during assembly. NOT good for a PCB!

Not utilizing a DFM

DFM, or Design for Manufacturability, refers to the process of inspecting the board’s layout to eliminate as many issues that could arise during the assembly process. Not using DFM checks could mean that the manufacturer might miss errors that could have been fixed before assembling the PCB. It’s a costly mistake to make.

Slivers on the PCB

During the PCB manufacturing process, small wedges of copper, known as slivers, can form and cause numerous PCB problems. This happens either when a long, thin piece of copper or solder mask detaches and falls into the chemical bath, or when you cut a part of the PCB design too deeply or narrowly which can cause either a floating sliver or a peeled-back sliver.

The creation of printed circuit boards is a complicated process, from design to manufacturing to delivery. Working with a reputable company like Onboard Circuits Inc. can ensure you’ll get the printed circuit board you need for your project, and the quality will be outstanding. From your layer count to your surface finish, OnBoard Circuits, Inc. follows through with every detail of your design. We cover every phase of the production process from design to turn-key assembly and can help you with your project at every step of the way.

Need a printed circuit board? Get a quote from us today!

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